By Jamie Sanderson

Most of us are back at work and Christmas feels like a distant memory. All of your presents have been put away by now with your glittery wrapping paper on its way to the landfill…

So, I thought we’d take a look at the Christmas period and how we encouraged our staff to think about sustainability when buying gifts this year.

When it comes to Christmas gifts, Brits use on estimate:

However, this doesn’t mean you have to be a scrooge. In our Birmingham office we maintained our festive spirit and promoted our annual office secret Santa to incorporate sustainable principles. This can be applied to gift giving all through the year! Gifts were:

Made from recycled material
Second hand (charity shops purchases are perfect)
Locally Made
Something that encourages ethical living
Or just something you know the person would use and appreciate even if it’s mundane (a box of granola!)

For people we didn’t know so well some inspiration for “ethical” gifts to fit in our £10 budget included:

And to beautifully decorate our gifts and fit with this ethos, we thought it’d be a novel idea to use old drawings from the plotter to wrap up the presents.

The results were fantastic!

People received gifts from charity shops, re-usable straws, coffee cups and a lot of perishables (booze in particular). It was great to see so many people getting involved, and hopefully we can improve on this next year.

Most importantly, people thought about ways to make their Christmas less environmentally damaging and we can all consider these for 2019 when it comes to gift giving. For instance:

  • Send E-cards or handmade cards (glitter free of course)
  • Use recyclable wrapping paper for presents (brown kraft paper is good value)
  • Go veggie for your Christmas dinner or option for organic meat
  • Donate your time, money or unwanted belonging to those less fortunate
  • If you feel the need to give a gift, follow our ethical gift guide
  • Minimise single use plastic purchases for food and gifts – A guide here

So when you’re planning your shopping for 2019 give a quick thought to what positive changes you can comfortably do, every small change makes a difference.

All the best for 2019

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Such a positive way to kick off the blogging year! Thank you Jamie.

    Have you ever heard of the beautiful Japanese art of Furoshiki? The use of beautiful fabric to wrap gifts which can then be re-used over and over again. A friend introduced me to the practice as she had up-cycled some old sari’s into cloth in which she wrapped a gift for me. I’ve been wrapping my gifts like this ever since.



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Jamie Sanderson, Sustainability


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